Part of The Revealer’s series on the John Jay report, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010.”
by Peter Bebergal
The Sixties counterculture beleaguered most traditional religious communities. Not only was there an increase in behavior deemed inappropriate (drug use, promiscuous sex, and the generalized spread of anti-establishment ideas), there was what came to be seen as a distracting interest in non-Western, non-traditional spiritual philosophy and practices. Compounding this was the insistence by many young people that psychedelic drugs were a profound catalyst for helping them to break free of what they saw as dusty and dried out teachings spouted by clergy who had no understanding of the injustices of a country torn apart by war, racism, sexism, and homophobia.
It’s no surprise then that the recent report on the “causes and context” of sex abuse in the Catholic Church claims that one factor was the prevalence of counterculture values that peaked in the mid- to late-Sixties, characterized in the popular consciousness of hirsute young people taking drugs, having sex, and otherwise dropping out of society in pursuit of a naive belief in a cosmic utopia. This stereotype would ultimately reduce the Sixties counterculture, an extremely complex and diverse movement, to a kind of youthful pathology, or simply, deviance. As the report says: “The rise in abuse cases in the 1960s and 1970s was influenced by social factors in American society generally.” Continue Reading →